Mason scores season-high 34 points in the victory
FORT WAYNE, IN (Jan. 7, 2020) – The Wisconsin Herd (18-4), the NBA G League affiliate of the Milwaukee Bucks, notched its 18th win of the season with a 121-115 victory over the Fort Wayne Mad Ants (9-13) on Tuesday night inside Allen County War Memorial Coliseum.
Five Herd players scored in double figures led by Frank Mason III who collected the Herd’s seventh 30-point game of the season. Mason III poured in a season-high 34 points on 12-of-22 shooting and added five rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block. For the second time this season – third in his career – Jemerrio Jones tallied 20 or more points and posted a stat line of 20 points, 15 rebounds, three assists, two steals and career-high four blocks. Cameron Reynolds recorded 16 points and five rebounds, and Shannon Bogues collected 15 points in a reserve role. Jaylen Adams had 14 points, five rebounds and seven assists, while A.J. Hess and Trevor Lacey pitched in with eight points apiece.
Fort Wayne was without the services of both Two-Way players as Brian Bowen II and Naz Mitrou-Long missed Tuesday’s game due to injury. Alize Johnson, who was one of two Pacers on assignment, led all Mad Ants players with 26 points, 19 rebounds and five assists. C.J. Wilcox registered 19 points, five rebounds and three assists, while Stephan Hicks totaled 16 points and four rebounds. Goga Bitadze, who was also on assignment, recorded 14 points, 13 rebounds, four assists and three blocks and Walter Lemon Jr. added 12 points, five rebounds, seven assists and two blocks of his own. Ike Nwamu had 11 points off the bench.
Mason III opened the scoring by hitting a three-pointer in the first two minutes of the game. Wisconsin scored five of the game’s first seven points, but the Mad Ants took its first lead of the night on a fadeaway jump shot by Johnson at the 8:08 mark in opening period. After taking an 8-7 lead, Fort Wayne scored 13 of the next 17 points and collected a 10-point lead. After facing its lone double-digit deficit, the Herd concluded the period on a 10-4 run. As a team, the Herd shot just 33% from the field but trailed by only four at the end of the frame.
Within the first 10 seconds of the second quarter, Mason III poured in a 27-foot three-pointer to made it a one-point game. After two ties and two lead changes, Wisconsin was able to take a four-point lead on consecutive long balls by Reynolds with just over eight minutes remaining in the half. Following a quick Mad Ants timeout, Fort Wayne poured in a three of its own, but the Herd countered by scoring 12 of the next 14 points to take a 49-38 advantage. In response to the largest deficit of the night for either team, the Mad Ants used an 11-0 spurt of its own and took a 50-49 lead with 30.6 seconds left to play in the first half. On the ensuing possession, Mason III put Wisconsin back in front as he knocked in his third three-pointer of the half. In total, the Herd tallied 31 points in the quarter, outscored Fort Wayne by six and led 52-50 at the intermission.
To start the second half, Wisconsin promptly reopened a six-point lead after tallying the first two baskets of the third quarter. Despite the quick offensive start, the Herd didn’t expand its third quarter lead beyond the six-point threshold. An old-fashioned three-point play pulled the Mad Ants to within one, and with 3:22 remaining in the period, Wilcox gave Fort Wayne the lead on a free throw worth two points. The final three minutes of the frame was a seesaw battle as the two teams exchanged the lead on seven occasions. The Mad Ants forged ahead 87-82 and scored what was thought to be the final five points of the stanza. However, Adams capped the quarter by knocking down a long three-pointer to beat the buzzer. In the period, both teams shot exactly 45% from the field and combined for 70 points, but Fort Wayne went into the final 12 minutes with an 87-85 lead.
In similar fashion to the late portions of the third quarter, the final period began with numerous ties and lead changes. With the game tied at 95 and 8:26 left, Lacey collected his second three of the game to give Wisconsin a 98-95 advantage. The basket by Lacey led to a swift timeout by the Mad Ants, but the Herd’s five-point lead was short lived. Fort Wayne rattled off six unanswered points and thrusted itself back in front on a pullup jumper by Lemon Jr. As was the theme for entire second half, the lead flip flopped back and forth until Mason III gave Wisconsin a 110-107 lead with 2:16 on the clock. Mason III tied Johnson with 14 fourth quarter points and aided the Herd as it nabbed a six-point win, 121-115.
With the win, Wisconsin is now a G League-best 12-1 on the road this season. In addition, the Herd have 18 victories on the season, which is the most in the league.
After sweeping its three-game road trip, the Herd will return home on Thursday, Jan. 9 to take on the Canton Charge in back-to-back home games. Tip-off against the division rival is set for 7:00 PM CT inside Menominee Nation Arena.